OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

October 6, 1995

Mr. James J. Goumas
Vice President, Safety & Regulatory Compliance
Rust Industrial Services, Inc.
3003 Butterfield Road
Oak Brook, Illinois 60521

Dear Mr. Goumas:

This is in response to your letter dated May 25, 1995 requesting an interpretation of the provision of the Permit Required Confined Spaces Standard (29 CFR Part 1910.146(e)(6)) which requires employers to retain cancelled entry permits for at least one year.

In your letter you state that the regulations do not specify where the permits must be maintained and you raise the question as to whether it is permissible under the regulations for an employer who is also a contractor to retain the cancelled entry permit at the facility of the host employer. You also ask that if it is not so permitted, where must the employer (contractor) retain the cancelled entry permit?

The purpose of the retention of the entry permit(s) is for their review by the employer as required under paragraph (d)(14) within one year of each entry so that the written permit space program can be revised as necessary to ensure that employees participating in entry operations are protected from permit space hazards. These permits must be retained in a location so that they are available to the employer for review.

It is not necessary to retain the cancelled permits at a particular location providing the employer can demonstrate compliance with the standard. In particular, the documentation must include any information regarding problems encountered during entry operations that was recorded to comply with paragraph(e)(6) and the review must also indicate any revision of the program that resulted from such problems.

We hope this will resolve your concerns about the permit-required confined spaces record retention. If you have additional questions, please contact [the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850].

Sincerely,

John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs